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Oklahoma cold case murder suspect is mentally competent and will stand trial, judge rules

A suspect in a 25-year-old cold case murder is mentally competent and will face trial in the shooting death of former Haskell County Commissioner Leo Reasnor, a judge ruled Monday.
by Andrew Knittle Published: March 19, 2013
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/articleid/3767224/1/pictures/1984956">Photo - Clifford Eagle
Clifford Eagle

Weeks after he confessed to detectives in Montana, Eagle wrote a letter to The Oklahoman claiming his confession was coerced.

In the letter, Eagle claims he went to the Billings Police Department to seek some kind of assistance from the officers there.

What exactly he was seeking help with isn't clear in the letter.

Eagle was a registered sex offender in Montana at the time of his confession. He had pleaded guilty to a Pittsburg County rape in 2003 and to marijuana possession in 1998.

“The confession was coerced by the Billings Police Department after I went to them for help,” Eagle wrote in the letter, which is dated June 12. “I just wanted to let them know that the federal authorities were planning to file false accusations against me in retaliation for trying to file a civil suit claim against the federal government.”

Billings police Lt. Kevin Iffland said he spoke with the detectives who interviewed Eagle about the Reasnor case.

“I can tell you that the statement wasn't coerced ... he physically came into the station and wanted to give the statement,” Iffland said.

Iffland said the interview with Eagle was recorded “as a courtesy to Oklahoma law enforcement.”

Ward said he would not comment on Eagle's claim that his confession was coerced but he did say that detectives in Billings have provided his office with recordings of the interview.

Eagle fought extradition to Oklahoma and didn't return to Oklahoma until August after Gov. Mary Fallin signed the so-called “governor's warrant” to bring him back.

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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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